Mariya Rajan

Mariya Rajan

Bureau Chief- South India 

When I was in Class VII at school, I learned about the Indian political system and its functioning. That’s because I knew even at that young age that I wanted to be a journalist – using my right to vote once every five years after I would turn 18 was not enough for me. I wanted to be part of the “fourth pillar" to fully exercise my right to the freedom of expression.

Having a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Madras Christian College in Chennai in southern India, and knowing where the press was going, I wanted to work only with a media house that had an independent editorial policy and stood by the needs of the common people. Thus, when Newsreel was coming to life, I knew this is where I belonged.

I always believed in being heard, and wanted to be the voice to those who were looking for it. Issues related to women have always been close to my heart. Also the need to undo the practices that are unfair, that have over time been normalised. I have always strongly felt the need to talk and discuss these issues, doing my bit to bring change.

I can be contacted at Mariya@Newsreel.Asia.


MAPPING INDIA, Uttarakhand I August 2022
Video I 11 Minutes
By Mariya Rajan
Sucheta Tomar, a farmer and housewife in Uttarakhand state’s Lohari village near the city of Dehradun, is one of the many residents who have lost their ancestral homes due to the construction of a hydropower project by the state government. Their home submerged in flood water, Sucheta and her husband now live in a classroom of an abandoned school. Hers is one of the hundreds of families that have been displaced by the government’s development efforts without sufficient compensation or land for relocation, she complains in an open letter to the state's Chief Minister.

Poverty Trap

MAPPING INDIA, Uttar Pradesh I May 2022
Video I 12 Minutes
By Tej Bahadur Singh
The story of Satish Kumar, a young man who lives in a small village in Uttar Pradesh state’s Chandauli district, shows how tens of millions of people in India are trapped in the cycle of poverty, with no fault of their own. Through the story he shares in this visual, open letter, Kumar points to a critical, but unaddressed, lacking in India’s efforts in poverty alleviation which policymakers must take note of.

A Deprived Neighbourhood

MAPPING INDIA, Haryana I February 2022
Video I 11 Minutes
By Mariya Rajan
What’s the story of Haryana state’s Nuh district, which is about 60 kilometres from Delhi and yet India’s least developed district? And does the story of this Muslim-majority Mewat region represent the journey of the country’s Muslims since the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan? Siddique Ahmad, a local historian, and other residents of Nuh have something to say to us about what they think and have experienced.


Episode 4, ‘Trafficked’ I January 2022
Video I 10 Minutes
By Mariya Rajan, Abhishek Yadav
Host Mariya Rajan’s quick visit to three hamlets near lush green tea gardens in Siliguri city and surrounding areas reveal that at least one child has gone “missing” in each of them. Was it just a coincidence, or is something changing in that region – which, being a gateway to the northeast India as well as the neighbouring countries of Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal – had only been seen as a transit route for human trafficking until the COVID-19 pandemic struck, making residents more vulnerable?

Sex Trafficking in Mumbai

Episode 2, ‘Trafficked’ I November 2021
Video I 14 Minutes
By Mariya Rajan
Shama (name changed) and her underage daughter are brought from West Bengal state to Mumbai city by human traffickers with the promise of a job. Soon they find themselves in separate brothels. Their stories reflect what many of the more than 1,600 girls and women in Mumbai’s Kamatipura area, one of India’s biggest red-light districts, go through as their bodies are sold by brothel owners and pimps for 350 rupees per hour. Anti-trafficking activist Anson Thomas, who has rescued at least 800 minor girls from brothels, describes the extent of agony sex workers suffer.

Long Walk to School

Episode 3, Ruled-Out Women I September 2021
Video I 7 Minutes
By Mariya Rajan
Nikita Mehra treks for half an hour every day to reach the nearest road above her house in Almora district of the northern state of Uttarakhand, only to walk six more kilometres to attend school. Many other girls, however, have dropped out of school due to safety concerns.

The Unequal Half

MAPPING INDIA I October 2021
Video I 12 Minutes
By Mariya Rajan
A young woman, Barkha (not her real name), goes through discrimination and sexual abuse at home, which, an activist says, may serve as anecdotes about what many girls and women in the north Indian state of Rajasthan experience due to a high level of gender inequality.

Long Walk to Water

Episode 2, ‘Ruled-Out Women’ I September 2021
Video I 18 Minutes
By Mariya Rajan
Series host Mariya Rajan goes for an arduous walk on the mountains of Uttarakhand state’s Almora district with a local resident, Janaki Devi, who fetches water three times a day from the nearest stream that is kilometres away.

Where’s My Loo?

Episode 1, ‘Ruled-Out Women’ I September 2021
Video I 9 Minutes
By Mariya Rajan, Abhishek Yadav
Kusum and Pinki are just two of the millions of women in rural India who do not have access to a toilet. The two live in a village in the northern state of Haryana, which according to the Indian government, is open-defecation free. Local activist Sameer Bakshi’s family raises the issue.

‘D’ for Dowry

Newsreel I August 2021
Video I 10 Minutes
By Abhishek Yadav, Mariya Rajan
Awadh Kishore and Draupadi Kumari, a couple from northern India’s Bundelkhand agricultural region, are not only unable to sustain their family financially but also need to arrange large sums of money for the marriage of their four young daughters.
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